Amenity Values of Public and Private Forests: Examining the Value-Attitude Relationship Academic Article uri icon


  • Public values toward forests have changed since the late 1980s, from a commodity-oriented perspective toward a more inclusive (commodity and non-commodity) orientation. This study examines the influence of four indicators of population diversity (age, ethnic background, place of residence, and gender) on amenity values of forests, environmental attitudes, and forest value-attitude correspondence. Four values of public and private forests were assessed, wood production (utilitarian value), clean air (a life support value), scenic beauty (an aesthetic value), and heritage (a spiritual value). Environmental attitudes were measured using a modified version of the New Environmental Paradigm scale. Five hundred and forty-eight randomly selected residents of households in 13 states of the Southern United States participated in a telephone interview. Age and ethnic background were found to moderate the value-attitude relationship, with the strength of the association being dependent upon the type of forest (i.e., public or private) and the forest value (i.e., utilitarian, life support, spiritual, and aesthetic). Females, younger persons (less than 43 years old), and whites reported lower utilitarian values of forests than their respective counterparts. Results are interpreted within the context of an emerging post-material society, in which a biocentric orientation to forests and the natural environment may be favored more by a younger (versus older) generation and increasingly racially diverse U.S. population. Implications for managing forests using a multiple-values (versus multiple-uses) approach are discussed.

publication date

  • November 1, 2002